Holden Racing Team backs James Courtney to drive in Bathurst 1000

CONFIDENT: Injured Holden Racing team driver James Courtney missed the Sandown 500 on the weekend, but is confident of being behind the wheel for next month’s Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES 	091215courtney

CONFIDENT: Injured Holden Racing team driver James Courtney missed the Sandown 500 on the weekend, but is confident of being behind the wheel for next month’s Bathurst 1000. Photo: GETTY IMAGES 091215courtney

BATHURST 1000

THE Holden Racing Team see no reason why James Courtney can’t be back for Bathurst despite scans revealing worse than suspected injuries from his freak pit lane mishap.

Courtney was hit by flying debris in the down-draft of a Navy helicopter at the tour’s event at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The 2010 series champion was rushed to hospital where he was treated for three broken ribs and an air pocket in his lungs.

Further scans last week revealed Courtney broke five ribs, with another displaced rib causing the 35-year-old serious pain.

A statement on the HRT website said a thoracic surgeon at Westmead Hospital has recommended further pain treatment.

“While the above sounds quite dramatic, the team is fully focused on James’ recovery and is ensuring he receives the best medical care available,” it read.

“If all goes to plan, the current medical advice suggests no reason why James won’t be taking his place on the grid at Bathurst.”

Team boss Adrian Burgess said of Courtney’s recovery on the telecast: “We’re making progress, the poor kid’s got a lot of pain, so we put him back into hospital for more effective pain relief to help him use his lung properly. The ribs are starting to heal, but [there’s] a hell of a lot of soft tissue damage.”

The man himself the refuses to give up on tackling Bathurst.

“Within a 24-hour period of it happening I knew I couldn’t do Sandown, but none of them have said I can’t do Bathurst so I’m still charging for that one,” Courtney told v8supercars.com.au.

“There’s been a lot of missed opportunity for me to develop the car and myself, which is very, very disappointing.

“But Bathurst is one of those events where you can win it from the back if you’ve crashed the car – they proved that last year – so anything’s possible.

“I really enjoy the longer races, the car’s come on really well in all the Sunday races this year, so these were the ones I was looking forward to. To miss the start of the enduro season is a big blow as well, but the positive thing is I’m not dead, far from it, still can race – I’m just on the sidelines for a few weeks.”

The injury has all but crushed Courtney’s title hopes.

In Courtney’s absence, V8 Supercars legend Russell Ingall stepped into his place for the first endurance race of the year at Sandown on weekend.

Ingall was Jack Perkins’ co-driver at Sandown, with Perkins elevated from his planned position as Courtney’s co-driver to be the main man around the Melbourne circuit.

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